True to my midwestern roots and current experience, I am often preoccupied with the weather. I'm not sure if this fixation holds true in other parts of the country or not, but here in the upper midwest weather seems always to be a subject of interest. Perhaps this orientation stems back to the agricultural roots of the region, or perhaps there is little else to think or talk about, but for me my natural surroundings ground me spiritually and emotionally.
I awakened this morning in the predawn darkness of my "day off." After letting our dog Gizmo out for his morning visit to the trees I showered and dressed and then went into one of our boys' bedrooms to wake up our ten-year-old. This is always a tempestuous encounter because Tony is not exactly a morning person. Sitting on the edge of his bed I jostled his curly blond hair and said, "Tony, God has given us a beautiful morning. Look at the sunrise." Through the window I could see the red- and yellow-streaked sky cracking through the morning murkiness. In response to my invitation to awaken, Tony responded, "Dad, let me finish my crossword first." My response must have been muttered surprise, because he followed up with indignance, "In my dream. The crossword is in my dream."
I smiled to myself at the innocence of childhood. I can't remember the last time one of my dreams was contenting or interesting enough to want to continue with it a little longer. Within a few seconds and with my persistent annoyance Tony finally arose a few minutes later. I coached him through his morning crabbiness to get dressed, brush his teeth and comb his hair. Three of his brothers were soon ready, so by 7:20 we were in the car on the way to school. In the 2-minute drive to school (usually we don't give them a ride, but this morning I was on my way to office to do some reading and decided to drop them off at school on my way) I revelled in the morning's autumnal beauty and reminded the boys that this would be a record-setting temperature day (forecast is for 70+ degrees in southwestern Minnesota in November ... really unusual), followed by much colder weather.
Our eleven-year-old son (most recent addition to our family and born in Guatemala) said, "Why dad? Why colder?" I explained how this would be the last gasp of autumn and that winter is just around the corner. Once again I reflected on the joy of childhood. When the first question of the morning is why does it get colder in November in Minnesota, you know the day isn't going to be so bad.
I am reminded this morning that as a father of a family continuously growing older, these days of childhood innocence are fleeting. These years, like today's last gasp of autumn, will soon be the substance of remembrance, so for today, for even this one twenty-four hour period of time, I think I'm going to enjoy it while I have it.